A beekeeper’s bargain?

I have been dreaming of bees for awhile now. I can just hear thousands of sweet little buzzing bodies fluttering around the blooms in our garden, stealing nectar here and there to take back to the hive. Just as I dreamed of having beautiful bright orange yolks in our eggs from our own healthy backyard chickens, I now dream of having jars of golden honey lined up in the pantry. There is just something about having a hand in raising my food that makes me feel content and happy.
Just this week, I’ve taken a big step forward in my beekeeping plans. First, I connected with our local Ozark County Missouri University Extension Office in an attempt to see what resources might be available to new beekeepers.  The contact there referred me to the Howell County office, located about 45 minutes away in West Plains. It turns out they had a beekeeping class scheduled for Feb. 11 and 13, so I signed up!
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We originally had plans of adding a hive or two this spring, but those plans almost were put on hold when we lost our first chicken and decided we really needed to funnel our funds into building a new permanent coop and run. See my last blog post here for our ideas on that. The upfront cost of having bees seemed expensive, and I just didn’t think we’d have enough green to stretch for the new coop and run and a few hives.
BUT… just as I was about to give up on the idea for this year, a co-worker let me know that a relative of his who had passed away several years ago left a shed full of beekeeping equipment, and the family was in the process of cleaning out the shed and would be willing to sell it. Score!

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So, he brought it all in this week for me to look at. Since I really don’t know much about bees yet, I didn’t really know what I was looking at, or whether if it would be able to be used again. Neither one of us had a good idea of a price point, so he threw out a $40 figure, and I agreed. I figured if it works, we got a bargain, and if it doesn’t, well we’re not out much money.
So, fellow beekeepers out there… tell me what will work and tell me what won’t.

Beekeeping suit

The suit looks like it’s in good shape. It’s size XXL, and I usually wear a medium. There are few small stains, but it looks as if it’s in really good shape.

suit

Veil/Hat

I don’t see any holes or damage. There is a hat sewn into the top of the veil. I’m not sure if that is how it was made or it was an adjustment from the previous owner.

veil

Gloves

The gloves have a little wear on them, but they don’t have any holes. They come up to just under my elbows.

gloves

Smokers

There were two smokers with the bundle. One looks old and rusty, and the other one looks a little newer. If I only need to use one, I might use the older one for home decor in our rustic style home.
smokers

Hive components

This is where I get a little clueless. From what I’ve read, I believe this is a 10 frame hive body and super? Is that right? Someone please correct me if not.
boxes
The one box is larger and has frames with four wires connecting the top and bottom. However, most of the wires are broken, and about half of the frames still have comb on them.

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The other box was slightly smaller and in better condition. It was wrapped in plastic. It also has frames, but these frames have a plastic comb-like plate in each of them. The plastic seems brittle, and several are warped or broken.
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Miscellaneous tools?

I have no idea what these are, but they were in the bin with the beekeeping suit, gloves and veil. Anyone know what they are? Are they bee related?
hive tools

…and that about sums it up. So what do you think? Did I get a beekeepers bargain, or is it a bust?

This post is part of the frugal ways sustainable ways blog hop. Check out other great posts here.

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5 thoughts on “A beekeeper’s bargain?

  1. I think you got a deal. The wooden ware can be repaired. You can also restring the wire on the frames as this is what the foundation sets upon. (We use wax foundation rather than plastic, but that is just our personal choice). New bee suits with veil can be expensive. Just roll up the arms and legs and then use rubber bands to keep them sealed at the ankle and wrist… you don’t want bees working their way into your suit. The tool with the teeth looks like it is used to break the wax cap off of a capped honey frame. (You just rake the tool across the top of the wax just hard enough to break the wax. This makes honey extraction much easier.

    • Thanks for all the help! It’s great to know that we can use all of it. I was so excited to get all of it used, so that the possibility of starting the hives this year is more likely.

  2. I think you did well. I personally would not use the frames. They are too hard to clean properly and with viruses and disease you don’t want to take the chance. Frames are cheap compare to buying bees! The boxes can harbor disease as well. Use a blow torch to completely eliminate risk of disease contamination, paying careful attention to the corners. Clean all tools well. 10% bleach with water. Good luck and be safe!

    • Yes, I heard the same thing from a local beekeeper who is sort of mentoring me. I’ve decided to just use new hives. I think the other equipment is likely worth way more than the $40, so I’m very happy with the purchase.

  3. You did get a good deal! I’m glad you are signed up for the beekeeping class because I think that will help a lot. We didn’t take any classes, but read Beekeeping For Dummies and asked a lot of questions at our local beekeepers meetings. Looks like you need to repair some of the frames, but that shouldn’t be too expensive. And you’ll need a bottom board, another deep w/10 frames, inner and outer cover, and maybe a hive top feeder. All the frames need new foundation that is not warped or brittle. Good luck!

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